Racer X: There’s a history in this sport of top amateur prospects carrying a lot of hype with them into their first race, so did you feel any of that when you were coming in? Justin Barcia: Yeah, kind of. I felt a little bit of hype around me, but I’m sure there were a lot people who wanted me to do really good, and some people maybe didn’t, but there was definitely a lot of hype, and it was good. I came out pretty strong and I’m pretty happy with what I did there.
Have you always been a good starter like you were last Saturday?
Yeah, a pretty good starter.
I’m sure over the last few years you’ve watched the pro ranks and you’ve seen those guys out there on TV and in magazines, so what’s it like when you’re actually out there battling it out with those same names like Ryan Dungey and former World Champions like Tyla Rattray and Christophe Pourcel?
It was pretty incredible to be out there with some of those guys. I was just really happy with my speed because I was able to be up there with them. It’s incredible to be up there with World Champions. That’s a pretty awesome thing. And Ryan Dungey wins championships and stuff, so that’s incredible.
You’ve ridden Glen Helen a fair bit in your life, but obviously never at a national, so what did you think of the track?
I really didn’t know what to expect, but the track was really good, actually, but it was definitely the roughest track I’ve ever ridden in my life. Coming down those downhills was pretty intense and there were some gnarly braking bumps. Like I said, it was the roughest track I’ve ever ridden, so it was pretty gnarly.
That first moto, you ran up front for about half the race, and you said you got a little arm-pump, but was it just because you were riding tense because you’ve never raced a national before?
I don’t know, really. I had a pretty good lead for a while, and then I mean I had two World Champions on my back tire, and Dungey, so it was a pretty intense feeling and I just pumped up a bit. I was probably just a little too excited. It was my first pro race, and I was out front, so I was probably a little excited and tightened up a bit.
Dungey talked a bit about his first pro race and said that usually rookies want to set the world on fire right out of the hole, so is that kind of how you felt going in?
No, not really, actually, because my team didn’t put a lot of pressure on me at all, and they have a bunch of good guys on the team, so no, I didn’t want to set the world on fire, but it looks like I can kind of do that a little... I just want to be up front this year and be really good in this championship – be consistent and be up front.
In the second moto, you pulled out to a pretty big lead. In a way, was that maybe even harder than the first moto because you were all by yourself?
I think I got out to about an eight-second lead, and it was nice being out front, I just kind of did my own pace and stuff, and then the guys started closing up on me, and Dungey came up first, and I had a little arm-pump by then – probably when I hit about 25 minutes – and he came up real fast, got around me, and I just wanted to stay on the podium for sure, because I had led for so long. Then Rattray got around me, and I had a good, comfortable spot in third, and I held onto it.
Coming in, you said you just wanted to be in the top 10, but now that you know the pace, does it change how you look at the rest of the series?
Yeah, it kind of changes a little bit. I definitely want to come out really strong next weekend, and I don’t want to just go too crazy and put too much pressure on myself because I’m still pretty much a rookie, so I just want to be consistent and stay up in the top 10 every weekend.
A lot of people have made comments about your riding style and how high you rev the bike, but it seemed to work for you this weekend for the most part. How did you feel about how your style worked in an AMA national?
I’ve always ridden how I ride now, so I feel really comfortable with my riding style and how I ride. Yeah, I might rev the bike a little bit, but I guess I’m a pretty good rider and I try to be smooth and consistent and not crash. I had a really good weekend, and I only had one crash in the first moto, so besides that I felt really comfortable out there. I liked the track, my bike was awesome – the suspension, motor, and everything – so I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
Have you ever ridden at Hangtown before?
No, not yet, so I’m pretty excited to go out there and ride a new track.